Wallace needed a brother. Jacinta isn't much fun for him and his pink punk ways. And me, I eventually grow weary of tossing toys for him to chase. Yep, he needed a brother.
Wallace needed a brother. Jacinta isn't much fun for him and his pink punk ways. And me, I eventually grow weary of tossing toys for him to chase. Yep, he needed a brother.
The Big Boss pointed his finger at me. "You," he said, "my office," and turned, walking down the cubicle row to the back of the facility.
During the work week, I wake at 5:45 every morning, in order to be at work by 7:50. On the weekends I sleep in til the grand hour of 7 am, which means that I loll around snuggling kitties, drinking decaf coffee, surfing the net, eating breakfast, and then it's still just 9 am.
I need to live with animals, can't imagine living without furry weasels roaming about. But I understand a little of what it costs them.
All of the animals I bring in are rescues. If I hadn't have taken them in, they likely wouldn't have found homes. Jacinta was rescued from behind a dumpster, where her alcoholic human caretaker had thrown her when he'd broken her leg when she was four months old. The Hoon and Grandma were found in a strange, dark "pet store" in Brooklyn NY that also housed rescued animals. And Wallace, with his many dings and snots and goo would have most likely been a hard sell for anyone other than me and my dreams of him.
Sundays I clean, do laundry, go for a hike at the nature preserve down by the ocean. Starting in the afternoon, I cook my meals for the week's lunches: kale and collards, quinoa and lentils, brown rice and black beans, salads with avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds and olives and slivers of red onion. Today I'm cooking a special late lunch for myself: lasagna made with rice noodles and organic mozzarella. It's the first time I've had cheese in a couple of months. This is the sound of me taking many extra enzyme capsules, while also salivating, oh good lord, yes.
Utterly consumed with practical things . . .
Mostly I'm not writing because mostly I'm going thru funk, then layers of joy, then more funk, then more joy.
This is my teapot:
Is anyone out there a hulu.com user? Are you having issues with playback in the past week? Playback has been choppy, slow, and without sound for a week now here in the land of my ibook. I've upgraded to a super fast roadrunner connection, have plenty of hard drive space, and can watch other video sites like utube and abc.com. I've also tried using not just safari, but firefox and internet explorer too . . .
Mondays through Thursdays I'm in cubicleland where it's always groundhog day. The alarm goes off at 5:30am, though usually I call to Baby Wallace and he comes and hangs out on my chest and purrs his morning kitty breath on me, and sometime Jacinta slides in under my right armpit and purrs so loud I get an underarm massage. I get up, do some yoga, situps, energywork, surf the net, decide whether I'm going to wear the brown baggy pants or the black velvet baggy pants or the baggy pants with the grey pinstripes. Then I select a shirt, preferably one that clashes, and add in a cardigan or jacket, again something that clashes, such as the black pants, brown shirt, grey sweater vest, black/brown striped shoes ensemble that I had on yesterday. Then it's off to start the car, put on some Burt's Bees faux lipstick, crank the cd player up with some Stuart Davis. I'm at work by 7:45. I take an hour for lunch at 12:30, and walk down to the urban version of a park and sit on a towel, eat a half an avocado, a gluten free corn muffin, some cottage cheese, some sliced berries and melon, and watch the birds, the wind in the trees, feel the southern sun make a 55 degree day feel warm. I work until 5:05pm. Then get in my car, come home. Feed the kitties, check email, make something to eat - my latest obsession is vegetable fajitas made with sour cream and fresh guac and spelt tortillas. I watch something from my hulu.com queue. By 8:30pm, I'm in bed, kitties climbing all over me in an attempt to mash me into the perfect sleeping surface. They make passes on their rounds, up and around my head, and they stop to lick my cheek, neck, and eyelids. Sometimes I watch the sky for a while, but eventually the benedryll I took at 6:30 kicks in, and the all over body itching stops, and sleep drops on my brain like a bomb, and other than the two or three times I get up to pee or wake myself up from another weird dream, I'll sleep like I'm dead until the next 5:30am starting gun goes off.
Baby Wallace's fascination and manifestation of cold sores continued with a cold sore on either side of the one in the middle of his lower lip. This made him look like an english bulldog for several days which never failed to make me laugh hysterically, though I know they must have hurt him. I couldn't help it. I just kept thinking that at any moment he was going to place a monocle on his left eye and ask for a cigar. His latest illness is a hotspot on the entirety of the back of his left haunch that looks like hamburger. No amount of herbal salve helps, which he only seems to lick off with his scratchy tongue which probably only makes it worse. I'll buy some gauze and surgical tape today and see if I can wrap that rascal for a few days. Wish me luck.
I wonder how long it's going to take to kill my ego. All day long in cubicleland I surgically extract slivers of it from my cosciousness. It's a slippery bastard, with the shards buried deep inside, cleverly disguised as "me". Surgical extractions look like this: One woman I work with is actually fairly calm and balanced. She occasionally chats to me about things. As one of the rules of Ego Massacre is Thou Shalt Not Tell Any Stories, I listen to her, and watch as again and again my ego wants to share something about itself, wants to put in its two cents. The woman mentions a sticky client situation, and ego wants to talk about its sticky client situation. The woman tells me what she does for fun when she's not at work, and ego wants to tell a few factoids, put a spin on my life to make it look fun. But I don't say anything. I try and arrange my face into something pleasant, although I usually fail. I'm polite to her, don't just simply walk away as I do with the other people I work with, but I watch the confusion and discomfort she suffers in trying to have a relationship with me. She is actually a lovely person, and as most of the people I work with are distinctly not lovely, I experience feelings of sadness, witness a desire to at least perform the Happy Dance a little for this decent woman. But my performing days are over.
Ego Massacre successes show up like this: the immediate bossman in cubicleland rolls his eyes and is rude, condescending, ignores questions, refuses to say hello or goodnite. He does things like refuses to acknowledge that I'm standing there waiting for him to answer a question, or he'll see me walk into his cube and then pick up the phone and make a call or he'll reprimand me loudly in front of people for telling a client to hand him a form instead of me taking the form from them and then handing it to him, even though he and I are separated at that moment by a partition and he and the client are within arm's reach of one another. For two weeks it's like rotating slowly on a spit. Then, yesterday, I stop trying to get him to stop, and simply act as if he weren't acting like an slime oozing brick wall. Instead it appears as if he's a little simple, a toddler who is cranky. I don't feel judgment, just an acceptance of This Is How He Is, this is his emotional age. I stop feeling anything other than a calm sort of cruise control taking over. Clients go the same way. By the end of the day, I'm actually laughing and relaxed instead of my usual Utterly Verklempt. And people seemed relieved when I don't fight back against the slime pit of their emotion, as if in the absence of my own brick wall of STOP their own brick wall dissolves.
In looking back, I have no idea what mechanism inside of me turned off or on or how I did it. Except maybe it's that I sort of ignore people. Every day, I lose more interest in people, their stories, the aggressions and hopes and fears and desperation they project on me. I think this means that if you ignore the world, it goes away.
Ego really is nothing more than a headf*ck. I look in the mirror and think: I'm so pretty. I look in the mirror and think: I'm so ugly. And the only thing that makes me believe either one is true is ego.
I've begun translating things people speak and email to me into the distillation of what they are really saying. No one likes to appear needy or greedy or mean. So they try and couch what they really want in compliments and side door requests. A family member sends me a birthday card, about two paragraphs worth of sentences. Distilled down into it's core message is one statement: I miss the things you used to do for me.
I see this exact message all over my living. Doing things for people means they will be nice, feel happy. Not doing things for people, whether it's because I can't, or don't feel to, means that folks won't be nice, and will feel very unhappy, and will express their feelings that their unhappiness is my fault.
If it doesn't matter to you how people feel about you, it's not a big deal. And how people feel about you only matters if you think you'll get something from their happiness, or lose something from their unhappiness. But if you get that nothing anyone can give you has any worth, then you lose interest in how to add to their Happiness Savings and Loan. And you get that your own emotional bank account is as corrupted and bankrupt as any other financial institution these days. But in this case, the only stimulus plan you or I need is to stop asking for people to show us the money and instead understand that:
There Is No Quan
It's 70 degrees today. The windows are open and the spring breeze brings fresh air flavors. Kitties are at the windows cackling in a bird watching frenzy. The sounds of my whirring printer are part of the activities in motion for the class I'm teaching tonight on psychic skills. The decaf coffee I'm drinking is yummy with a little vanilla extract in it. Maybe I'll treat myself to the country cooking buffet for lunch. Time to leave the apartment and run errands . . .
I woke up this morning, opened my eyes and thought:
Almost $500 in vet and med costs later, and three months into the process, I finally look at the truth of what is going on with Wallace, and began using my healing skills, psychic abilities, to help the sweet little weasel get well.
I understand that mostly what Life is doing right now is hammering away at my ego, keeping anything that I might try and label as 'love', 'safety', 'stability', or, 'fantabulousness' far, far from my living. Which is actually producing a sense of hilarity in me, a surrender to it all that comes complete with belly laughs in recognition that I am so not in control of what's happening, and at the pointlessness of all the striving and organizing and fighting and thinking, those crazy mental machinations that we mistakenly call a life.
Letting go means just that. Looking at the things that torture you, then seeing why you stick around for the whoopin. Then untying the bonds. Then slipping away for a walk in the woods, or a bath at 2pm, or cake for dinner, or a nap with a kitten, or a roll around for some spontaneous carpet yoga.
I tell myself, today is going to be a good day. Because yesterday was a bad day. A really bad day. Full of people saying freakyass sh*t like your holistic room rent is going to double come January 1st, and there is a $3000 school loan that didn't get folded into your loan consolidation and it's now in default and if you don't come up with $3000 or a dang good sob story, we're going to come and pawn your kitties and your panties and all of your plastic wine glasses and haul you in and throw you in the clink where there'll be nothing to eat but gluten products and foodesque objects injected with MSG.
Woke up this morning to Jacinta snuggled in my arms, Wallace my ever present nighttime sleeping cap. The apartment still, clean. The air chilly at pre-dawn.
A quiet day followed. Light chores to prepare for the coming week. Brunch at the country cooking buffet. Sitting in the recliner, the sun on my face as I read a novel. Curled against my legs, passed out in sweet kitten surrender, Wallace, in all his snoring glory. Jacinta in the bedroom, having exchanged the back of the closet for the foot of the bed, sleeping in the sun.
A pot of ground turkey, roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and bay leaves simmering on the stove. Jason Mraz's "We Sing, We Dance" and Lucinda's newest "Honey" playing at low volume, in the midst of a big playlist shuffle entitled 'A Very Mellow Mix'.
Tonight, most likely in bed by 9pm again, the bendryll kicking in that helps me sleep, and keeps the constant allergic reaction to something, whatever it is, at bay. And tomorrow morning I'll wake up as I have the past few weeks, before dawn. Maybe again like this morning, snuggled in with kitties. And the week begins again, more long days, more of the dying that Life keeps bringing, more of the stories that Maya keeps generating, but maybe less of both of the latter.
And maybe there'll more of the stillness, the gentleness that seems to come out of nowhere, apropos of nothing, and for which I feel such a soft gratefulness these days.
Onward . . . onward . . .
Whether stalking the ever elusive, now reclusive Jacinta, or planning attacks upon the Beings Beyond the Screen, Baby Wallace unleashes his inner Green Beret.
(lame cheating to stay afloat in the quicksand of daily posting. instead of posting i'm watching bbc and drooling out the side of my head from exhaustion. yes, not only the grinding roar of cheating, but the sound of millions of tiny violins as well. cheers.)
Oh lordy, I am so dang depressed today. To go along with the other days and days of depression. The moments where it lifts are so sweet. And I try and stay focused on the positive, the areas of movement. But then something will come smacking out of nowhere and I'm face down on the pavement again.
I think mostly it's about grief. Although failure is running a close second.
I hear the Hoon all the time. Or see him. Jacinta is still acting terribly off and spends most of her days on a high back shelf in a closet. Wallace just can't seem to kick the kitty flu he has, he struggles to breathe, and the vet says there's nothing more that can be done.
It's like I can't get any distance from death. It's in my space no matter how I turn. I hit and kill a beautiful bluebird with my car. I do the same with a squirrel. People keep telling me long, involved stories about their dead animals, relatives, friends.
Have I ever been happy? Is anyone? Does happy even matter? Is it even real?
When I look back at times of happiness, what I mostly see is how naive I was. Does this make me cynical? I look back at how oblivious I was to the dumptruck that was bearing down on me as I gorged myself on the happy. Is this just seeing how the Up is always followed by the Down? Is this even true that what goes up must come down?
Another 14 hour day tomorrow. Crazy shit. Crazy life.
I miss The Hoon . . .
Maybe it's that I've felt the possibility of impending disaster from the Big Goings On today . . .
Or maybe it's that my state job is driving me several notches down on the evolutionary ladder . . .
Possibly my luscious Up of last night simply must follow the law of duality by helpfully providing a hideous Down posthaste . . .
But whatever the reason, I'm glad that Jacinta has yet again become my Official Nighttime Feetwarmer, and that Baby Wallace has appointed himself as my Fuzzy Orange Nocturnal Headgear. (you don't know contentment until you've listened to the white noise of tiny trucker kitty snores all night, vibrating the sound of yesyesyesyesyes deep into your dreams . . . )
(and thank god for cheap red wine . . .)
(and my upcoming paycheck from my new job . . . )
(and the fact that whoever wins tonight, however screwed we all are, everything is exactly as it needs to be, and that Yes is all there is . . . )
It's Good To Be Baby Wallace, Even Though Copious Kitty Mucus Causes Snores Like Tiny Trucker After A Hard Night of Drinking (water and tuna juice) and Carousing (with twist tie toys and Katmama's incredibly vile and disgusting herbal compounds):
So big change, oh wow big change is on the move and making itself known.
I've been terribly depressed the past month or so. The kind of depression that will eventually let you out of bed, but won't release you enough to actually get much done. Big grief with the passing of The Hoon. Compounded by grief with Jacinta's illness. And having had a big split with my family, and not talking with them or meeting with them beyond a couple of brief phone calls until I get my bearings and have a deeper understanding of how to handle it all. And money stuff. Oh the money stuff. Kitty bills paid that went well above two grand. In the face of the current economic sandstorm, folks not booking sessions or coming to classes so much.
But then Life always sends life rafts, or at the very least, those little circles of buoyuancy that keep us afloat until we cross paths with a secret island or somali pirate vessel or a pod of whales or we at least gather the strength to paddle like hell toward the mainland.
For the past few weeks, I've been getting extensive energywork sessions. Sometimes three or four hours in length at a time. After class one night, one of the attendees, a retired MD from up north who's been to several classes of mine, asked if I'd be interested in doing a barter. He explained that he'd been studying with Donna Eden for the past seven years, had recently moved to Wilmington, and was looking for knowledgeable folks that he could do sessions for to help sharpen his skills.
I usually find a way to gracefully turn down barters of this kind as really? most folks who do energywork at best can't offer much genuine benefit, and at worst will bottom a person's energyfield out. But in the moment, when he asked I thought: yes. And so I did a shamanic healing session for him, then received a session from him, which ended up turning into three hours worth of deep crying, that moved to a humming sense of calm, that shifted into laughing and feeling like myself again. I've been getting sessions from him every five or six days, and he's taught me dozens of exercises that I've been doing several times a day. And they've really, really, really helped.
The sessions also come with cheese. Really good cheese. Seriously high quality European imported manchego and feta. Because apparently Cost*co now carries all sorts of organic, quality whatnot. And so as I leave my session, he feeds me cheese and gives me a doggie bag to take home. And may I share with you that energywork and high quality cheese are balm for many layers of broken heart and swampy humanness and interrupted connection to the The Almighty Yes?
And then about a week ago, I began dreaming about a small orange kitten. One morning, despite the fact that I've been very clear that I'm not ready for a new kitten, I even sat down at my laptop and researched names, Scottish names, because I've been dreaming about Scotland for months now, and in the dreams, the cat and the country were somehow connected. I made a list of names, which I can't find now, because the names were variations on Aengus, Ceardach, and Dougal, and really, what sort of person names a kitty Norval? And then, Friday night, after teaching a long psychic skills class, and kicking back here at the hacienda with a glass of wine, it hit me: Wallace! And my head and heart lit up with a crackling A-Ha. And although I got that it could have been some sort of neurocytotoxicity due to the very cheap red wine, something else in me said: this is him.
The next day I went to the local bloggers meetup, met all sorts of awesome bloggers. And despite the good humor and warm hearted environment, the Hellacious Depression's ugly cousin, Rapacious Social Anxiety, had my teeth chattering for the duration. And by the end of the meeting, having spread what I hoped were sincere smiles and well wishes all around, I went and sat in my car, frantically doing energywork exercises to get myself calm enough to drive home. I called into the holistic center, said I wasn't going to come in to work. I didn't have anyone scheduled, and despite the fact that I seriously needed money, I just couldn't bring myself to face folks who needed something from me. I hung up, and deep breathing, turned onto the main road, and looked up to see a huge sign looming. The sign said Pet*co. And before I knew what I was doing, I had pulled into the parking lot.
I walked around the little cages sponsored by a local rescue mission, all filled two and three deep with cats and dogs, puppies and kitties, each one more luscious and sweet and plaintive than the next. I saw two largish orange cats, and they banged their paws on the cage every time I walked past. I read their bios, found they were both 3 or 4 years old. I stood there, agonizing. They were great cats, but Jacinta isn't doing so well.
My gut tells me she's got health stuff going on, but that mostly it's depression. In addition to losing The Hoon last month, this past week she also lost the Granny kitty that lived out on the porch outside our front windows. This skinny ancient feline has fiercely, happily been Jacinta's arch nemesis for the year and a half we've lived here, and over a period of couple days, she gently let go and died this past Wednesday. And so in the space of five weeks, Jacinta lost both of her playmates, and had her Katmama turn into a wackadoo who radiates misery and grief and verklpemptness instead of the superfine luscious lovestuff she's grown accustomed to.
So, I stood there at the Pet*co, in front of two big orange fuzzballs. And I got: Jacinta needs a small baby male, someone she can boss around for a while, and eventually mother, and this is not the kitty from the dreams, this isn't Wallace, and it needs to be Wallace, and you need to let go of these guys and leave. And so I left, but then found myself at Pet*smart, just a couple of blocks away, and they had another set of shelter rescue kitties, and then I saw him: Wallace.
Tiny. Just three months old. Exactly like the dreams. I took him out of the cage and held him for ten minutes or so, to see how he felt. It felt kinda awful actually. He didn't much want to snuggle, didn't look me in the eye, did this shoving thing against my chest, pushing away from me with tiny stiff paws. But he purred continuously, and the elderly volunteer said: he's got a reputation at the shelter for being very loving. And I looked at the kinda cranky little feline fuzzball, and even though I felt awful and didn't think he liked me very much, and he smelled weird like a bounce dryer sheet, he was obviously Wallace. I filled out the paperwork, and paid $85 cash from my rent stash, even as my rational mind screamed: what the f*ck are you doing you crazy person because the bottom line is that you are going to be $200 short for rent this month and you've now made yourself $285 short?!? I held my hands over my ears and chanted "la la la la la" all the way to the car, baby Wallace howling in sopranic harmony to the wailing in my head.
When I got him home, I made him a nest out of towels in the bathroom, set up food and water and a little makeshift litterbox made from a box lid. And I discovered: he was a freakin mess. Ears filled with funky dark matter. His frame more than a little skeletal from lack of proper nutrition. A hind paw that was lacerated and infected, a cut scabbed over on his nose. And when I began looking closely, I saw that his tender skin showed signs of inflammation, his eyes hazy with lack of clarity. And then it hit me: I'd just spent part of my rent money for an ill, cold-hearted, high maintenance cat that was fixing to finally send me over the fiery edge of hell and make Jacinta scootch a ring closer in.
I went into my office and wept for a while, tried to snuggle Jacinta, who as usual these days gave me the stink eye and told me to "talk to the paw". And then I set about trying to clean the kitten up. I bought some bacitracin and cleaned his wounds out, used up several dozen q-tips and a bowl of sudsy water swabbing his ears out, which may I share with you took forever as dang them kitty paws and body parts is wiggly. He mostly fought the whole process, but he also purred. He seemed to like having his ears cleaned, and he seemed to sense that I was taking care of him, and he surrendered a bit.
I saw that mostly what was going on was that he didn't feel well, that he'd been ill taken care of, and he was tired, and afraid. I also got that he wasn't contagious, that he wouldn't make Jacinta sick. And I curled him up in a swath of towels, and left him to sleep.
Then I was off to work, one of the dreaded "psychic parties" that I generally do around Halloween. If you picture how a physician would feel as the featured entertainment at a costume party, you've got a good sense of what these are like for me. But I do them because they pay pretty well. And also because on some level they are amusing, like doing several shots of tequila just to watch the room spin. The verbal contract was an hour and a half or so for $200. But by 9:30pm, I was having so much fun, and was such a hit with the group, that they had me stay til after midnight, doing ten minute quicky readings for almost every single person at the party. And as the hostess thanked me and hugged me good night, she handed me a wad of cash and a check, and after I pulled into the driveway at home, I looked at it to find almost $500.
And I sat there realizing that I'd made enough to cover the gap of cash I needed to pay the rest of my bills. And that by not going into the holistic center, I'd given myself extra energy, enough so that I could open my heart and seeing and really be sharp and sweet with the smart, swanky folks that were the party goers that night. And that in the house was a new kitten and sweet Jacinta and that everything was going to be okay.
And so it is. I woke up this morning to find Jacinta snuggled in my arms in a way that she hasn't in weeks. Tiny little kitty squeaks emanated from the bathroom. My emailbox was filling with all sorts of new contacts made from the blogger meetup yesterday. The rent, it will get paid on time. I start my new job on Tuesday. And as I type this, Wallace runs about the apartment on fast, fierce kitten paws, squeaking like mad, he and Jacinta facing off, but finding it just a bit easier every time they come up to one another, him deferring to her over and over, turning over so that he exposes his belly to her, showing her, and me too, that he means only love, and snacks, please, may he please have more snacks?
So what else is there to say really? Except for, of course, several thousand words: